WBC Notes: Leroux Gets The Start For Canada

Chris Leroux got the start in game two for Canada today. In the bottom of the first inning, with Canada already up 4-0, he threw 27 pitches, sitting 92-93 MPH with his fastball, hitting 94 once. He struck out one, but gave up two singles and a run that scored due to an error on an infielder grounder. Leroux settled down in the second inning, retiring the side in order by picking up two strikeouts and a groundball to second base. He needed 13 pitches to get through the second, 11 were strikes and again he hit 94 MPH on the radar gun. Chris Leroux 2

In the third inning, with 25 pitches left before he reached the WBC first round pitch limit, Leroux retired the lead-off hitter on six pitches, getting a soft fly to center field. It took Leroux six pitches to get the second out, inducing an infield pop up from Ramiro Pena. He then struck out former Pirates infielder Luis Cruz on five pitches, but Cruz reached first on a wild pitch. That brought up Adrian Gonzalez, who drew a walk. Facing his last batter, with just three pitches left, Leroux got Jorge Cantu to groundout to end the third inning. In the inning, 15 of his 24 pitches were off-speed pitches. He finished with one unearned run on two hits, one walk and four strikeouts.

Canada ended up winning 10-3, keeping their hopes alive to advance to the next round. Leroux had stated prior to the game that he was making just one start, even if Canada advanced to the second round.

Jason Grilli picked up a big save for Team Italy, during their upset win over Mexico on Thursday night. Italy scored two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 6-5 lead, bringing in Grilli to close it out. It wasn’t easy for him, he needed 34 pitches and got the final out in dramatic fashion. With the bases loaded and a 3-2 count, Grilli got a groundball from Jorge Cantu to finish it. With the win by Canada today, Italy advanced to the second round of the WBC.

Wandy Rodriguez was originally scheduled to go for the Dominican Republic today against Spain, but his start was pushed back to Sunday, so he could face the tougher Puerto Rico team. The Dominicans won today, pushing their record to 2-0, which advances them to the second round along with Puerto Rico. Tomorrow’s game will be determine which team has the better seeding in round two.

Jameson Taillon will be starting for Team Canada at 4 PM Sunday against Team USA in a very important game. The game is a must win for both teams, thanks to the USA win over Italy tonight. The winner of this game will advance to the second round along with Italy.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • blackmax

    So whom do I root for tomorrow night????

    • John Dreker

      My game plan is four shutout innings for Taillon, then Team USA can go nuts the last five innings. I really want to see how he handles a pressure situation against a big lineup. He isn’t going to see a better lineup in a “win or go home” situation, possibly ever again. As a Pirates fan, you want to see him calm on the mound and get through at least three. The batters in the WBC seem to be patient, knowing the pitchers have pitch limits and most teams aren’t that deep in the pen. So he needs to throw strikes early

      • John Dreker

        The game is today BTW, this was posted last night right after the Team USA game ended. I think that was right around midnight by the time editing was done, so that is why it says tomorrow…I’ll change it now to avoid further confusion

      • michaelbro8

        “He isn’t going to see a better lineup in a “win or go home” situation, possibly ever again” -
        John; I hope you’re wrong. I hope he does in game 7 of the 2016 World Series !

        • John Dreker

          I did say possibly, which left that tiny window open, but I doubt a regular lineup would match the lineup Team USA will put out today. Even in a game seven of the WS, chances are this USA lineup will be better, or at minimum even, so I wasn’t really going out on a limb there.
          If you want to think about the game seven situation though, why isn’t Cole starting? :)

          • piratemike

            With those two starting why would it get to a game seven?

            • John Dreker

              touche